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Those Pesky Wasps
August 07, 2017
Hi,

So, Snickers is sleeping at one end of the couch and Sophie is sleeping in her little bed on the other end of the couch.

Karen fires up the vacuum cleaner and what you see is what happened in the blink of an eye.

Snick, Snick, jumps into Sophie's bed, while kicking kitty out at the same time.

Like that was going to save her from the dreaded vacuum.

One of those things you had to see to appreciate.

What a bummer.

A real drag.

The sun now sets before 9:00 PM here in SW. MI.

We've lost about an hour of daylight since the summer solstice, an will lose about an hour and a half of daylight this month.

I enjoy spring and summer and the longer daylight hours.

I'm such a bundle of good cheer today :-)

On the bright side for us, we did get some much needed rain.

About 2 inches fell here.

The Dog days of summer are upon us.

Lazy days.

Not a lot of gardening to do right now, unless you are in the middle of a project.

It is also the time of year where insect populations (all sorts of insects), begin to explode.

Good and bad bugs.

Good ones help keep the bad ones in check, as long as we aren't spray happy with insecticides.

Certain insects may fit into the good, and bad categories.

It all depends on how you look at it.

It's that time of year.

While the dog days of summer seem to slow us down, activity in the wasp (and some bees), department is heating up.

For the next two to three months, Paper Wasps, Yellow Jackets, Bald-faced Hornets and others in the wasp family, are working at a fevered pitch to feed an ever growing colony.

Same goes for Honey Bees and Bumblebees, they are in full gear to feed the young.

For honeybees, they must build up a winter food supply.

However, these bees don't mess with our cookouts.

Not so for solitary bees and wasps.

These wasps are busy constructing, laying, and supplying food for the larvae, and die.

Most bees and wasps wont mess with you, unless you mess with them first.

Most bees and wasps are solitary creatures and are non aggressive, unless provoked, or you try to pick one up.

I'm sure you have experienced them first hand if you tried to enjoy a cookout or picnic.

Cut up the watermelon, or pop open your favorite drink..........

Presto, you have Wasps, or Yellow Jackets.

Uninvited guests.

Now, these bees are beneficial insects on the most part.

They pollinate flowers, eat other insects, larvae, rotting fruits and carrion.

Food to bring back to the nest.

They can also be very aggressive.

However, messing with a guy's cookout isn't right.

I mean, the grill master can't have a cookout ruined by wasps can he?

Mom worked hard on that fruit salad, you can almost bank on bees smelling the sweetness.

Most bees and wasps are solitary creatures and are non aggressive, unless provoked, or you try to pick one up.

I'm sure you have experienced them first hand if you tried to enjoy a cookout or picnic.

Cut up the watermelon, or pop/soda open, or your favorite drink.

Presto, you have Wasps, or Yellow Jackets.

Uninvited guests.

Now, these bees are beneficial insects on the most part.

They pollinate flowers, eat other insects, larvae, rotting fruits and carrion.

Food to bring back to the nest.

They can also be very aggressive.

However, messing with a guy's cookout isn't right.

I mean, the grill master can't have a cookout ruined by wasps can he?

Mom worked hard on that fruit salad, you can almost bank on bees smelling the sweetness.

Wasps and yellow jackets, etc. are different from bees when it comes to stingers.

Their stingers are more spear like, where bees have a barb and leave the stinger in you resulting in the bee's death.

Wasps however, can continue to sting pumping more venom into you.

Usually stings are painful for a while, but about 2 in 1,000 are deathly allergic to stings and you must
take great precautions as you well know.

Eastern Yellow Jackets are flat out mean.

They typically build nests under ground in vacant rodent tunnels.

They don't like the sound or vibrations that lawn equipment makes and will attack.

They also will build between walls of man made structures.

Yellows jackets are found over much of North America.

Including your picnic.

The Northern of Golden Paper Wasp is the most common of our native wasps.

The northern wasp is found over most of North America.

These wasps can vary in coloration from a dark brown to a golden color.

Their nests are made of wood materials giving it that paper texture.

Typically nests are smaller and are built on the underside of bushes, and stuff away from people and other distractions.

These guys usually leave our picnics alone and are less aggressive.

I do know from my childhood however, that they do pack a wallop.

The main culprit is the European Paper Wasp.

First discovered in the New England region around 1980, these wasps now inhabit much of North America.

Somewhat similar in appearance to yellow jackets, European Wasps are mean and aggressive.

Nest are built on the underside of many structures.

Decks, porches, lawn chairs, sheds, houses, etc.

Sometimes they will build in a hollow pipe, under shutters and even within walls if they can find an opening.

I almost forgot................

They love to occupy bird houses, butterfly houses, mailboxes and other objects that offer protection.

Yes, European wasps are the main culprits in our nest boxes. There is no law protecting wasps and yellow jackets, so if you feel the need, destroy them.

This time of year especially when they are a big pain and knowing the nest will die off soon.

European paper wasps are taking over, feel free to kill them off.

Natural insecticides like mint oil work wonders on killing wasps and yellow jackets.

To prevent them from building in your nest boxes or other places, make a solution of rubbing alcohol and about 20 to 25% pure mint oil.

There are also commercial (earth friendly) products just for this purpose.

'Safer Products', comes to mind.

This will keep wasps away for a good spell and most definitely kill off any that may exist.

It works.

Because birds have poor sniffers and mint is a food item, it wont harm the birds.

Mint however, is a neurotoxin to wasps and bees and they drop, like right now.

I've even used it as a repellent when I'm in an active area or when I power wash the home.

Why all this on wasps and Yellow jackets?

It's to help inform some of you that these bad guys do have a good side in the natural world.

Sometimes we can walk around them, and other times they are indeed pests and need to be dealt with.

As is the case most of the time, it is the non native that is most aggressive.

Native wasps deserve a place in our wildlife gardens.

They serve a beneficial role,.

Just leave my cookouts and picnics alone, or there will be a payback.

Well,, it's time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

“Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best.”

David O. McKay

Even the word of God talks about challenges and doing our best.

Here are a couple of verses for you to read.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who
has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision".

2 Timothy 2:15

"Let’s not get tired of doing what is good,for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up".

Galatians 6:9

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson



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